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Effective Ways to Teach Math for Children with Dyslexia

Effective Ways to Teach Math for Children with Dyslexia

Many children who have dyslexia are so disappointed when they figure out that sometimes dyslexia affects their math too, but often this only becomes apparent a few years after they have realized that reading is difficult.

This is because most children find early math quite easy and can do simple addition and take away sums, however when it comes memorizing times tables, mental math, and their slower processing speeds, the difficulty becomes apparent.

It’s important they can get a good grasp on these concepts before moving onto more advanced math such as integration.

Effective Ways to Teach Math for Children with Dyslexia offers techniques for helping kids with dyslexia tackle math. From Starts At Eight

Effective Ways to Teach Math for Children with Dyslexia

Between 60 to 100% of dyslexics have difficulty with certain aspects of mathematics. As parents this can be so difficult to watch, especially when they have already taken a confidence knock with their reading.

So what can we do to lessen these difficulties and make sure math stays fun and engaging for children with dyslexia?

Improve Working Memory

One of the common traits of dyslexia is a weakness in working memory. Our working memories help us to hold small pieces of information in our mind while carrying out a task.

A good working memory is essential in math, so we can keep hold of numbers while working out more complex sum.

Luckily, there are plenty of things that you can do to try and help strengthen your child’s working memory, and most of them are games which kids tend to love!

Any game which requires your child to use their memory will do the job. Simply having to keep the rules of the game in mind while playing a game can strengthen the working memory.

Great examples include:

  • Memory matching card games – turn all the cards upside down and turn over two at a time to find the matching pair.
  • What’s missing – gather up 5 household objects, have your child memorize them, then remove one and ask them to figure out which one has been taken.
  • I went to the shop – the first player starts by adding one item, then the next player recalls the item, and adds another to the list. Play continues until the last person can remember the correct order of items!

Allow the Use of Aids

Once your child knows how to work out their times tables, or other mathematical facts, keep a printed list of the times tables facts close by when they are working out more complex questions, to reduce the number of steps in the problem.

This allows your child to move through a curriculum and feel a sense of achievement rather than feeling completely overwhelmed.

If your child has dyslexia, they might struggle with the written element of math, so read any questions aloud that they might find difficult, again to reduce the frustration. Save reading time for their reading sessions.

You can also encourage your child to use a calculator once they have good number sense and understand the basics of adding, subtracting, multiplication, division and place value.

Multi-Sensory Approaches

All children learn differently, so providing a wide range of sensory approaches when you teach helps them to understand math concepts in different ways.

You can use sight, touch, hearing and movement to enhance your children’s learning. Using objects for counting, multiplication and division can help them to grasp the logical side of math in a visual way.

There are a number of curriculums such as Singapore Math and Math U See which encompass a wide variety of learning methods.

Create a Happy Environment

Have you ever noticed that your child recalls and remembers events where they were happy really well? This is because when we are happy, dopamine and serotonin are produced which improves our memory and ability to learn.

This isn’t just hearsay, research has been done into the correlation between feeling strong positive emotions and learning and the link is scientifically proven.

Studies have even been carried out on adults in the workplace, and when their workplace is fun, employees are more likely to try out new things.

So if you can create a fun and happy learning environment each time you have a math lesson, they are a lot more likely to retain facts and information.

Can you get your children to laugh while they’re learning some tricky math rules? Laughter is a powerful quick route to happiness, so if you can think of a few math related jokes to lighten the mood, you might just find that your kids start to enjoy and look forward to math.

Which Method Should You Use?

Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all when it comes to the best way to teach math to a child who has additional needs. Play around with some of the above techniques, until you find a style that suits your child.

Ultimately, your child already has the best teacher – you! You have their best interests at heart, you know them better than anyone else, and so therefore you have the best chance at finding a way to make math fun and enjoyable for your child, despite their difficulties.

Bio: Jesse Woods homeschools his own two children and founded Matter of Math to provide a multisensory approach to learning, and to make math accessible to everyone from children to adults who have always struggled. He is a member of the American Mathematical Society and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and hold a degree in Math and Physics.

More Math from Starts At Eight

Teaching Lego Math: Multiplication & Division from Starts At Eight using Lego Bricks is a great way to get hands-on learning to teach math concepts.
ShillerMath Review - An Unboxing & Review of Kit II from Starts At Eight. ShillerMath Review: These kits are Montessori based for preK through 8th grade. Use manipulatives, enjoy the prescripted lessons, sing the songs!
Playing Card Math for Middle School - Games to Make Math Fun! from Starts At Eight
Does Your Grade School Kid Need Speech Therapy?

Does Your Grade School Kid Need Speech Therapy?

Communication and emotional expression is an essential aspect of being human. Speech is one of the first skills learned by a baby. Within the first three months of birth, babies can express their needs by using different crying sounds. Mothers can tell when their kids are hungry, sleepy, bored, unwell, or just cranky and want to be held.

Physical & neurological conditions can hamper learning speech & language skills. Identifying and speech therapy can help them overcome these conditions.

Does Your Grade School Kid Need Speech Therapy?

When assessing the need for speech therapy both physical and neurological conditions need to be considered. Identifying and getting online speech therapy at an early age can help them overcome these conditions.

Some Physical Conditions That Can Cause Speech Delays

Physical challenges can affect not just your child’s ability to speak clearly and develop the essential skills for communication, but they also indicate other impairments. Doctors will likely work on treating these issues before helping your child with speech therapy.

1. Hearing

One possible physical issue could involve the child’s hearing. Learning to speak is closely connected to hearing since babies listen to sounds and voices to mimic them. They also listen to the sounds of their own voices and learn correct pronunciation. If your child isn’t picking up speech skills, the pediatrician and SLP will likely test their hearing as part of the evaluation. Resolving aural problems often leads to normal speech development.

2. Cleft Palate or Cleft Lip

Children with a cleft palate or cleft lip need therapy after surgery to help them make sounds correctly. They’re taught proper articulation and trained to develop new motor speech techniques. SLPs also help kids learn how to use the ideal pressure on their palates to produce sounds. The proper treatment can deal with resonance disorders and help make sounds like t, d, k, and g correctly.

3. Weak Oral Muscles and Tissues

Weak oral muscle tone, or hypotonia, is a difficulty in moving the lips, tongue, and jaw. Oral and facial muscular disorders result in slow or slurred speech. Not having adequate energy in the oral cavity can also make it hard for kids to pronounce consonants and certain syllables, leading to mumbling. SLPs perform various exercises with their patients to help them tone the tissues. They may also display images to show them how to use muscles correctly to produce the right sounds.

4. Chronic Hoarseness

Shouting, screaming, and using the larynx unnaturally can result in chronic hoarseness.

Typical treatment includes:

  • medication
  • regular hydration
  • deep breathing exercises
  • throat muscle relaxation techniques
  • therapy sessions to learn voice modulation
  • Your doctor may also recommend avoiding sodas and chilled drinks.

Neurological Disorders That Can Cause Speech Issues

Neurological problems or “disfluencies” in the brain can also result in speech disorders. When the brain cannot plan muscle movement to produce sounds, the patients may make prolonged speech sounds, use repetitive words and syllables, or speak in broken sentences.

1. Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)

Apraxia is a condition that could last through kindergarten and into their higher grades. Kids with this disorder are unable to understand the language that is spoken to them. They may also have trouble with following instructions and directions or comprehending gestures. Reading and identifying objects and images by their proper name is also known as apraxia. Extensive speech therapy with a trained speech-language pathologist and reading sessions conducted at home can help overcome this speech disorder.

2. Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is also a neurological condition where kids display symptoms of delayed speech and ineffective communication. Speech therapy helps patients overcome issues like limited gestures, difficulty in social interactions, and building friendships. Kids also learn to avoid repetitive behavior and words to maintain eye contact when interacting with peers and family members.

3. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

One of the symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is slurred speech that typically results from the child trying to speak too quickly. Kids with this disorder also have trouble organizing their sentences, which makes it hard to understand them. They may also struggle to have a conversation, where they must listen carefully and comprehend what the other person is saying. This cognitive impulsive behavior can be treated with psychotherapy sessions where the SLP may use different strategies to promote normal speech.

4. Brain Injuries

Brain injuries or damage to the areas that control speech and oral muscles may also result in speech issues. In addition to reduced communication skills, these kids may have related problems with eating, breathing, swallowing, and chronic respiratory illnesses, like dysphagia.

Other Things to Consider

Besides physical and neurological conditions, kids may have basic language issues concerning the expression of thoughts and ideas and the organization of words into a sentence. They may also use a limited vocabulary.

Some kids also have selective mutism where they speak fluently in certain situations or remain silent in others.

Although each child develops at an individual pace, physical and neurological conditions can hamper their normal learning speech and language skills. Identifying and getting online speech therapy at an early age can help them overcome these conditions. An evaluation from a speech-language pathologist (SLP) can help diagnose the exact cause to provide the proper treatment.

Speech therapy with parental support at home can help grade school kids overcome their issues and develop their communication skills.

More Help for Special Needs

Bouncy Bands for Wiggly Kids from Starts At Eight
365 Ways to Love Your Child

365 Ways to Love Your Child

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression,  “Actions speak louder than words”. Well, the book – 365 Ways to Love Your Child is just that – suggestions for memory-making moments (actions) that will warm your child’s heart.

365 Ways To Love Your Child

365 Ways To Love Your Child by Julie Lavender is a literal “how to” of making memories with your children.

Julie breaks down the 365 ways to love your child into categories to help you pinpoint ideas for different events.

With categories like:

  • when we’re outside
  • when we’re in the kitchen
  • when we’re running errands
  • when we’re vacationing
  • and more!

I love that she quotes Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s sonnet, “How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways.” It really demonstrates the premise of her book – putting actions in play to express love to your children.

A Few of my Favorite Ways to Love Your Child

One of Julie’s 365 ways to love your child in the “when we’re vacationing” section talks about never passing up a photo booth opportunity.

This reminds me of a tradition we started recently of taking a family selfie everywhere we go.

We have taken them on:

  • camping trips
  • nature walks
  • amusement parks
  • cutting our Christmas tree
  • at the holidays
  • while shopping with masks on
  • when gathered with good friends
  • and so many more! 

As our kids have gotten older this is a tradition they have come to love!

Here are just a more few examples from Julie’s Book, 365 Ways to Love Your Child that stood out to me:

1. Create a new handprint craft each month and watch how the size of your child’s handprint changes over the years. A heaping handful of handprint art projects can be found online, from peacocks, to tress, smiling suns, elephants, angels and more.

2. Have a snowball fight in the comfort of your home with recycled sheets of paper. Let your child help wad up dozens of sheets of used paper into “snowball” sizes.

3. Decide together on a secret hand signal or motion that means “I love you.” It could be something as simple as touching your thumb quickly to your pinkie to resemble a quick kiss or folding one hand in the other to signify a mini hug. Us the signal with your child at various times of the day at home or in other locations.

4. Pull out your child’s baby book and retell the story of their birth or adoption. Share milestones and funny stories of infant and toddler days. 

More Books & Articles for Parents

Unconditional Love & Parenting from Starts At EightThings I Wish I'd Known Before We Became Parents from Starts At Eight. A practical guide for navigating some of the tough parenting moments you might not have thought of. A great parenting help for new and even more experienced parents!A Teen's Guide to the 5 Love Languages - A Review from Starts At EightParenthood from Starts At Eight

How to Prepare Teens for Homeownership

How to Prepare Teens for Homeownership

While I know you may think it’s not the time to prepare teens for homeownership, it is! The components needed to prepare for homeownership in the future, like credit and savings, are important life skills for teens to learn.

How to Prepare Teens for Homeownership

Many of us know that buying a first home is a stressful but important milestone in adulthood.

There are different steps that must be completed before buying a home, and financial literacy is critical to understanding them. When it comes to preparing your children to take these steps, you can never start educating them too early.

Thankfully, there are resources available that can be incorporated into lesson plans and/or general conversations with your teens to get them started on the right track!

Start Early with Financial Literacy

It is NEVER TO EARLY to start teaching your kids about money! 

Click on the image above to get loads of resources for teaching younger kids about money. Everything from counting to saving!

The Importance of Credit  

Most adults know that having a good credit score makes getting a home much easier.

In today’s world, many people will check your credit score, including loan officers, credit card companies, landlords and even prospective employers.

According to CNBC, a good FICO credit score is within the range of 670-739. There are many factors that go into your credit score: payment history, amount owed, length of credit history, how often you apply for new credit and credit mix (revolving credit versus installment loans).

It’s important that your teen understands the importance of good credit from an early age, as a poor score can impact their ability to complete many “milestones” of adulthood. Things like missed payments, accounts sent to collections and bankruptcies can stay on a credit report for up to seven years. So mistakes made as a teenager can affect your child when they get older and decide to buy their own car or home.

This means that teaching your teen how to use credit responsibly is of utmost importance. Consider teaching your child how to access and understand their credit report and how things such as credit cards and loans work.

Especially for older teens, opening a secured credit card is a good way for them to build credit history without the responsibility of a large credit line. You can also add a teenager as an authorized user, which allows them to build a credit history (you don’t have to give them access to the card for them to be an authorized user).

Build a Savings Account

Of course, building a healthy savings account is beneficial for several reasons. One of those reasons is the ability to pay a down payment on a property. Generally, lenders like to see a down payment of 20%, or the borrower will be subject to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI). Some loans, like the FHA program, will allow prospective homebuyers to get away with a 3.5% down payment, as well as requiring a lower credit score to get approved.

However, especially in high-priced markets, 3.5% still amounts to thousands of dollars. This doesn’t include the thousands of dollars most borrowers pay in closing costs, as well as furnishing and upkeep on a new home. Of course, even when buying a home, it’s fiscally responsible to have at least three months of savings in your account to be prepared for unexpected events.

This means it’s important for teens to start saving up now if they want to buy a home in their early-to-mid 20s.

If possible, consider contributing to a savings account for your child. Relatives and family friends can also pitch in if willing. Encourage your teen to find part-time work and put a little bit of money into a savings account each paycheck. Especially if the money is deposited into a high-interest savings account, by the time your teen is ready to buy a home, the amount accumulated should be quite a bit.

Explain the Process

Although the teenagers of today will most likely not be buying homes for years, it’s still important for them to understand the process.

Although states vary in their specific requirements, most areas have the same general process.

For example, steps such as:

  • getting preapproved
  • finding the best lender and real estate agent
  • how to be prepared for closing

Teaching your child about the homebuying process will allow them to be more prepared for when the time comes to purchase their own home. It also shows them why they need to be concerned about things like a savings account and credit score, even though it may not affect their life now.

Possible Career Path

As a side note, this also presents the opportunity to teach your child about possible career paths.

Career Exploration - DK Careers Book from Starts At Eight

Many people are involved in the homebuying process. This includes:

  • bankers
  • real estate agents
  • home inspectors
  • attorneys
  • title agents
  • movers
  • cleaners
  • and more!

Many of these careers can offer stable, high paying employment. Ask your teen if there’s any role that sounds interesting to him/her, and encourage them to look up employment statistics, training and opportunities for that profession.

Household Chores and Upkeep

Buying a property requires a lot of financial planning and know-how. However, the work doesn’t stop once the closing forms are signed.

Significant upkeep and possible renovation is required for owning a home, even if the property is move-in ready. This includes cleaning, basic repairs and even knowing when to call a professional.

To help teach your teen the skills needed for homeownership, consider assigning them chores around the house. This will help them not only with homeownership, but college and apartment living as well.

Life Skills as High School Electives: Basic Household Repairs for Teens from Starts At Eight. Teaching Basic Household Repairs is an important part of learning to maintain a home. Things like painting, caulk, and hanging pictures just to name a few. Use the FREE Printable to keep track of what they have accomplished!Teaching Life Skills: Chores from Starts At Eight

Also, having your teen help out with home repairs is a great way to help them learn the skills needed to take care of a house. If this isn’t possible, ask if neighbors or relatives would be willing to let them help out with home maintenance.

As a last resort, teach your child what responsibilities a landlord is responsible for in your living space. YouTube videos can help teach them the basics of fixing those issues, or you can ask your landlord if they are willing to let your teen see firsthand what they need to repair or replace.

Be sure to check out this Life Skills as High School Electives course as it covers many of the skills needed not only as a basis for homebuying but for life outside your home in general!

Buying a home is still considered part of the “American dream.” However, getting there takes years of planning, saving and making responsible choices. It’s never too early to discuss how financial literacy can pay off, but it’s especially important for teenagers. Talking to your child about this can help them prepare to make this dream a reality.

Financial Literacy for Kids

Financial Literacy for Kids

Money and finances are a big part of adult life. Money is something you are exposed to as a child. Kids play with toy kitchens and cash registers, exchanging money for food items and more. Given these beginning opportunities, teaching financial literacy for kids is something that can begin at an early age.

Financial Literacy for Kids

“Financial literacy,” you say?

You think, “but my child is only five!”

Truth be told it is never too early to start demonstrating and teaching your children how to manage their money.

Unfortunately, I am pretty sure if you were making a list of important things to teach your children, financial literacy wouldn’t make the list. You would more likely think of things like potty training, manners, learning to read, math skills, etc. However, money sense is arguably one of the most important skills you can teach them to aid in their future success.

When is the Right Time to Start?

As soon as your child starts asking for things, the first lesson they must learn is that those things cost money, and money has value. When you spend that money, it is forever gone.

Would you be surprised by the fact that most children understand by age three that coins and bills can be exchanged for things, like say that piece of candy or toy new toy that they want?

Click on the images below for some fun an practical ideas and printables for working with coins.

Hands On Teaching: Piggy Bank Math + FREE Printable from Starts At EightHands On Teaching: Coin Counting from Starts At Eight

Then by the age of six or seven they can even better grasp the money concepts of earning, and saving to go along with that spending instinct!

Teaching children the skills to be money smart is a process that happens over time. Starting at an early age with simpler concepts and working up to the more complex ones as their age and cognitive ability will allow. The skills lies in learning (or teaching) the value of saving, and of spending conscientiously and understanding the difference between wants- the just for fun stuff, and needs- the necessary expenditures.

Peter Pig’s Money Counter

Here is a fun game for kids ages 5-8. In this interactive game, kids practice identifying, counting and saving money while learning fun facts about U.S. currency. After completing the game, players are rewarded with a trip to the virtual store to buy accessories within budget and dress up Peter Pig in fun scenes.

Allowance Basics

A good way to help your child learn how to handle money on their own is by giving them an allowance.

Somewhere around the ages of 5-7 have a conversation with your children concerning money, include your own values and beliefs concerning money.

Set up a fixed allowance amount and plan with your child how that money will be allocated. For example, a common measure is $1 per year of age, thus $7 a week for a 7 year old, $14 a week for a 14 year old.

You can then discuss managing the money by designating to certain things. For example, 40% toward spending, 40% toward short-term saving (new video game, bike, toy), and 20% toward long-term savings (phone & bill when older, car, college).

You could also lessen one or more of these and add in something like a percentage for charity or a giving back project of some kind. Lastly be sure to define what they are expected to pay/save for. You pay the mortgage, electric, groceries etc, but they pay for special snacks they want, toys, etc.

In this post I am referring to younger children. If you would like tips and ideas for the teenage/high school years you can check out my article called Money Management for Teens.

Finding Opportunities to Teach

Taking your children to the grocery store and involving them in looking at the prices and talking what is more or less value for your money is a great way to get them involved and more aware of the cost of things. For instance if your five year old wants a candy bar they can find it and check the price. Do they have enough money? How much do they need to save to get it? Or how much money will they have left after buying it.

How about the bank? Around the age of 10 you can take them in to set up their own savings account (check with your local branch concerning their guidelines). Then maybe once a month you can take your child to deposit the money from their weekly allowance that was set aside for savings and allow them to keep the ledger for the account.

It is important to allow your children to spend their money as they choose, within your guidelines. They need the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them. When my oldest was 9 or 10 she just had to have this oinking pig that was all the rage at the time. I warned her about its lack of usefulness and how she might feel about spending $12 for something she may not play with very long. Wouldn’t you know that a month later it was heading to the garage sale pile with high hopes of recouping some of the money spent on it!

Above all, talk to your kids about money. They see us handling and using money every day but if we don’t talk to them about the what, how, and why, then they will miss out on many wonderful learning opportunities.

Financial Literacy Resources for Use With Young Kids

Jump$tart Coalition is a national coalition of organizations dedicated to improving the financial literacy of pre-kindergarten through college-age youth by providing advocacy, research, standards and educational resources. Jump$tart strives to prepare youth for life-long successful financial decision-making.

Sand Dollar City – You create a character and enter into a virtual reality to learn about managing expenses, bank accounts, credit cards, and saving money by making decisions and experiencing the consequences of those decisions.

Hands On Banking – This award-winning financial education program, is available in English and Spanish, and offers free non-commercial content – lesson plans, instructor guides, student courses, activities, lessons, quizzes and much more. This site has courses designed just for elementary, middle, and high school so you can choose the appropriate level for your child!

For me, For you, For later ~ First Steps to Spending, Sharing, and Saving is presented by Sesame Street and is a bilingual multimedia program created to help families share experiences in developing financial basics that will impact their children now and in the future.

Board Games such as:

are great ways for your family to be together, have fun and learn about money all at the same time!

Seasons of Parenting Books for the Ages & Stages

Seasons of Parenting Books for the Ages & Stages

Parenting is a job that no on really prepares you for. There aren’t really classes or instruction manuals for parenting our children! There are however many parenting books that can help us along the way on our parenting journey.

Seasons of Parenting Books for the Ages & Stages is a compilation of many of the parenting books I have read, used, and loved along my parenting journey.

Seasons of Parenting Books for the Ages & Stages

Throughout my many years of parenting three children I have hit many milestones, obstacles, and challenges along the way. Whether in seemingly easy patches or in the rough trenches, I typically have a non-fiction book I am reading. Very often parenting books are what you will find on my nightstand for reading.

You can find parenting books on almost every topic from What to Expect When You’re Expecting to The 10 Myths of Teen Dating and everything in between!

Here you will find a collection of books (some with personal reviews) I have found helpful so far on my parenting journey. An * marks the books linked to a more lengthy, personal review of the book by me.

Parenting Books Pertaining to Younger Children

1 -2 -3 Magic Effective Discipline for Children 2-12

I truly believe our sons childhood was saved by this book! I remember being at my wits end with him, struggling on a ledge trying to find a way to manage my mischievous, active, into everything child. I was tired of yelling (which wasn’t working) and needed something! 1-2-3 Magic was my lifeline. It worked! It helped me by means of three easy-to-follow steps, to learn to manage troublesome behavior, encourage good behavior, and strengthen my parent-child relationship with him.

*Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Became Parents – While not pertaining directly to younger children, this is probably a good read for sooner rather than later along your parenting journey!

In this book Gary Chapman and Shannon Warden share wisdom gained from raising their own children and from the many families they’ve counseled through the years. They explore numerous topics like how children change your life, how to accept your child’s uniqueness, potty training (yes!), why kids need boundaries (starting as infants), the importance of modeling, why social skills are as important as academic skills, and why emotional health is critical.

*Growing Up Social – Raising Relational Kids in a Screen Driven World – In Growing Up Social the authors focus on raising kids who know how to relate in our screen driven world. They offer practical advice on how we as parents can better relate to our children, thus helping us to help them navigate this world. Then they go another step beyond that by giving REAL LIFE examples, conversations and real words to use with your kids in your own house.

Parenting Books Pertaining to Tweens and Teens

*The 10 Myths of Teen Dating – My first thought about this book was, YES, a book that sticks to solid moral values but doesn’t bog it down with the mention of God in every sentence! Instead they take moral values, put them into real life words and practice so that even those who are not religiously based can use and find great value in the advice and action points in this book. Kids need real life, practical advice for facing the world around them, and this book has it! Not only does it give good advice for teens, but it does it by helping you to be the messenger of that good advice. The 10 Myths of Teen Dating is based in research, experience, and insight from Daniel, and brought together with perspectives and insight from his daughter, Jacquelyn.

*A Teen’s Guide to the 5 Love Languages – is geared towards helping our teens understand themselves as well as their relationships with others. Because it is geared toward teens it speaks to teens on their level, uses examples they can relate to, includes graphics that are fun and relevant for teens,  and gives solid, concrete examples of what each language looks like, from both sides!

Parenting Beyond the Rules: Raising Teens with Confidence and Joy

One of my favorite quotes from this book, “How do we speak so our teen listens and understands? We need to start by monitoring our mouth! It’s not always what you say but how and when you say it that matters.”

I got out my highlighter, well really my pen, because there were so many things to take in! From action points I wanted to do, to encouraging quotes I wanted to hang on to! Connie does a wonderful job of speaking from the heart as she shares her own family stories to paint a picture for us.

Parenting teens can be tough. But as Connie points out, creating and holding your relationship with them with care will carry you farther than any strict rules or planning will!

Listen. Watch your mouth. Give them space to make decisions and figure things out…with you as their safety net.

General Parenting Books

*8 Simple Rules for Raising Great Kids – What I love about this book is the non-judgmental, we have all totally been there, kind of approach that is taken. Todd uses specific examples to highlight each point he is trying to make and then gives you a little food for thought. The short chapters make it easy to read a few pages, mull it over, and then try to put it into practice.

*Just 18 Summers – This is the only fiction book on my list but the message is SO important.

*No More Perfect Kids – “Before you had children, you most likely dreamed of children. You dreamed about what it would be like, who they might resemble and how your family life would be with them. These expectations can lead to disillusionment and disappointment for you and your children. No More Perfect Kids was written to help you shatter your preconceived notions and learn to see and love them for who they actually are.”

Not Just About the Kids

Parenting isn’t just about the kids. Parenting is a way of life. You need to be comfortable in your own shoes, and your home environment needs to be a positive, safe space to live and grow. Here are a couple of books that aren’t just about the kids.

The DIY Guide to Building A Family That Lasts – 12 Tools For Improving Your Home Life{I recently received this book for review. Please see my full Disclosure Policy for more details.}

I have to say that the first thing (well two things) that attracted me to this book were: the author (I LOVE Gary Chapman), and the DIY home improvement theme they are working off of!

The book is broken down into 12 Tools

  1. Building Kindness
  2. Increasing Gratitude
  3. Cultivating Love
  4. Seeking Compromise
  5. Choosing Forgiveness
  6. Improving Communication
  7. Enhancing Trust
  8. Developing Compassion
  9. Increasing Patience
  10. Getting Organized
  11. Creating Fun
  12. Building Connections

Each of these chapters has personal insights and stories from the authors. Then they Draw Up A Plan, help you Do-It Yourself, offer ideas on how to get your whole family to be All-In, discuss the Sweat Equity – that’s the hard work and sacrifices that may be needed to reach the goal and then end with the results, The Big Reveal.

I love that they acknowledge how tough it will be, but also how worth it. “You and your family are embarking on major home improvements right now. It’s hard but valuable work. Keep moving forward!”

I highly recommend taking this book and breaking out down over a year, covering one chapter each month.

7 Habits of Highly Effective Families – shows how and why to have family meetings, the importance of keeping promises, how to balance individual and family needs, and how to move from dependence to interdependence.

*The Secrets of Happy Families – It is so interesting to me how Bruce finds principles used elsewhere for other things and adapts them to the family. While he offers many different ideas, he states in the book, “My hope is that if you take just one idea from each chapter in this book, your family will be transformed in less than a week.”

What I took away from this book was sort of a “toolbox” of ideas to try in my family. Some of the main themes I recall are flexibility, family time, and a feeling of belonging to something bigger than yourself.

The Power of a Positive MomThe vocabulary of a positive mom generally does not contain the word perfect. A Positive Mom is one who realizes that neither circumstances or people are perfect. She is realistic in her expectations, recognizing that her husband and children have weaknesses as well as strengths. And most important, she humbly acknowledges that she has a fair amount of flaws herself. ~ Karol Ladd, The Power of a Positive Mom

More on Parenting

Unconditional Love & Parenting from Starts At EightParenthood from Starts At EightAre You a Yes or No Mom? from Starts At Eight

7 Reasons to Let Kids Play Video Games

7 Reasons to Let Kids Play Video Games

We are living in a world where children are significantly more exposed to technology. Modern kids have access to technology that their parents have only dreamed about when they were young. For instance, today’s children have smartphones and tablets they use for communication, gaming and many other things. They also have the Internet which many of them use to acquire knowledge and support their school work. Of course, modern technology has brought another interesting thing in the lives of kids (and adults) – video games. I want to show you how letting kids play video games might not be all bad.

7 Reasons to Let Kids Play Video Games {SPOILER - Video games aren't all bad!} There are many benefits of video gaming for kids.
When someone mentions video games, people usually think about entertainment. Unfortunately, many people still believe that this is a complete waste of time and many of them disapprove this practice and don’t allow their kids to play. These parents think that video games cause addiction and that they can distract their kids from everyday activities like schoolwork and physical activity. While it is true that these things are possible, it is also true that the benefits associated with playing video games can outweigh their possible negative effect on children.

Not convinced? Keep reading because we will present a list of 7 reasons to let kids play video games.

7 Reasons to Let Kids Play Video Games

1. Playing video games enhances motor skills

A scientific study conducted by experts from the Deakin University in Australia has suggested that kids who are playing video games on a regular basis, especially interactive games, have stronger motor skills than kids who didn’t play such games. It turns out that video game players have improved object control skills like kicking, catching and throwing objects. This is logical because most video games require a high level of alertness, hand-eye coordination, finger dexterity, and encourage players to stay active all the time.

2. Supports creativity

One of the most important things that parents should take care of when their kids are young is to provide them an opportunity to unleash their creativity. This is crucial for their proper development. Certain video games allow for creativity like this.

By playing video games, children can improve their creative side. They can also learn how many different things work and apply their newly acquired knowledge into the real world by coming up with some interesting solutions to common problems. Many of the video games offered in the market are specially designed for children and with their needs in mind.

3. Supports mind development

This reason is closely related to the previous point. Many video games, especially interactive video games for kids, help young kids with mind development. By learning how to solve problems and how to create a proper strategy to make progress in the game, something that most video games have, kids are able to expand, grow and enhance their thinking.

In fact, these games support children’s efforts to develop higher-order thinking skills like strategic thinking, plan development and realization, interpretative analysis and problem-solving. With the help of video games, children are also able to understand the concept of achieving objectives and goals, team building and teamwork and responsibility.

4. Triggers positive emotions

Playing video games can give kids a break from feelings that are causing problems like pain (regardless of the cause – illness, injury etc.) or other unpleasant worries that can make them feel upset. In fact, according to Jane McGonigal, Ph.D., playing video games can trigger ten positive emotions in kids and adult players – belief, wonder, and awe, pride, surprise, love, joy, excitement, creativity, contentment and curiosity.

5. Supports physical exercise

This is one of the primary concerns of parents when it comes to video games. They believe that video games will make their kids forget about physical exercise. However, the latest changes we are witnessing in the world of gaming have shown that video games can actually support physical exercise. Namely, there are many gaming consoles that have accessories that support physical activities. Some of these consoles include Xbox One, Wii and PS4 for example. There are accessories that you can attach to your PC too and make this activity more physical.

6. Improves language skills

A vocabulary is the body of words known to a person that is constantly upgraded. Of course, the basis of our vocabulary is found in our childhood and this is the reason why we should do our best to learn as many new words as early as possible. This is where video games come into play. Many include interesting new words and terminology that children are not aware of. While they are playing they will effectively learn and remember these words and understand how and where they can use them.

There are also vocabulary specific games like Brain Age and My Word Coach (There is also a Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese version of this one for help with learning a new language.)

7. Promotes socialization

Video games provide a common ground and common interest among children. They are great conversation starters as well. Contrary to popular belief, video games support socialization too. This is especially true when it comes to kids who have difficulties with their ability to establish new relationships.

Modern video games allow players to engage in conversations with other players. They are forming partnerships and they are chatting in order to improve their scores. Most kids today play games, so this is a good chance for your kid to find their peers even when they cannot leave the comfort of their home.

Bottom Line

Letting kids play video games is good for kids, but remember that the time spent on this activity should be limited just like any other activity. Here is an article and Help for Limiting Kids Screen Time that includes a FREE Printable List to help keep you and your children on task. Children should be involved in a variety of activities for proper development.

Growing Up Social - Kids & Screen Time from Starts At Eight

About the Author: Lucy Benton is a writing coach, an editor who finds her passion in expressing own thoughts as a blogger, who currently works at BestEssayTips. She is constantly looking for the ways to improve her skills and expertise. If you are interested in working with Lucy you can find her on Facebook.

Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Became Parents

Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Became Parents

Given that I have been a parent for over seventeen years now you might think this book comes a little late for me, alas it does not. While I think Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Became Parents is a must read for ALL expecting parents, there is also value to be had from those of us that have already been parenting awhile.

Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Became Parents from Starts At Eight. A practical guide for navigating some of the tough parenting moments you might not have thought of. A great parenting help for new and even more experienced parents!

While many of the early chapters in this book deal with early parenting struggles, as the book goes on it delves into important topics for parenting as the years go on. I particularly found the chapter on parents needing to apologize to be a great one! I have found myself in this position with my own children.

This chapter covers two big areas:

1. What should I apologize for?

  • unkind things you say or do directly to your children
  • taking out your own frustration on your children with harsh, loud words, which deliver critical, condemning messages
  • failing to listen or pay attention when a child is talking to you
  • wrongly punishing due to inadequate fact gathering
  • excessive punishment

2. Steps for learning to apologize.

  • Accept responsibility for your own actions
  • Know your actions affect others.
  • There are always rules in life.
  • Apologies will restore friendships.
  • We must learn to speak our apologies in a way that is meaningful to the person we offended.

This just scratches the surface of the solid, practical advice offered up in this book!

About Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Became Parents

From one of my favorite authors, Gary Chapman, comes a new book, Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Became Parents.  {I recently received this book for review. Please see my full Disclosure Policy for more details.}

In this book Gary Chapman and Shannon Warden share wisdom gained from raising their own children and from the many families they’ve counseled through the years. They explore numerous topics like how children change your life, how to accept your child’s uniqueness, potty training (yes!), why kids need boundaries (starting as infants), the importance of modeling, why social skills are as important as academic skills, and why emotional health is critical.

Check out the chapters!

  • Children are Expensive
  • No Two Children Are Alike
  • That Potty Training is No Laughing Matter
  • That Children Need Boundaries
  • Children’s Emotional Health is a Important as Physical Health
  • Children are Greatly Influenced by Our Model
  • Sometimes Parents Need to Apologize
  • Social Skills are as Important as Academic Skills
  • That Parents are Responsible for their Child’s Education
  • Marriage DO NOT Thrive on Autopilot
  • Children Can Bring You Great Joy

Even though there are hints of Christianity (references to church, Christian schools, etc.), this book is mostly a secular book and does not contain any scriptural references or recommendations based on the Bible. I really appreciate this because I feel by leaving many of those references out, parents who do not share a specific religous belief will be more open to reading and hearing the important words of wisdom and actionable items to becoming a better parent that are shared in this book.

About the Authors

Dr. Gary Chapman is an author, speaker, and counselor who has a passion for people and helping them form lasting relationships. He is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages® and the director of Marriage and Family Life Consultants, Inc. Gary travels the world presenting seminars and his radio programs air on more than 400 stations. He and his wife have two children and several grandchildren.

Dr. Shannon Warden is an assistant teaching professor at Wake Forest University where she teaches in the graduate counseling program. She is also the director of counseling and director of women’s ministries at Triad Baptist Church in Kernersville, NC. As a professional counselor, Shannon has counseled children, families, young adults, women, and couples since 1998 and has served as an assistant to Dr. Gary Chapman since 2003. She and her husband have three children.

Other Books By Gary Chapman

A Teen's Guide to the 5 Love Languages - A Review from Starts At EightCurriculum Review: Discovering the 5 Love Languages At School from Starts At EightGrowing Up Social - Kids & Screen Time from Starts At Eight

The 10 Myths of Teen Dating ~ Practical Advice for Parents

The 10 Myths of Teen Dating ~ Practical Advice for Parents

I remember the trepidation in me when my oldest daughter was nearing dating age. When they leave our house, we lose control. One of the things I have found to be most important is to foster relationships with our children that include an open line of communication. If you build a relationship from the ground up when they are young, then you will have a platform to work from when the tough stuff comes up…like dating. Here I offer you The 10 Myths of Teen Dating – Practical Advice for Parents.

The 10 Myths of Teen Dating from Starts At Eight is a practical parenting book to help parents of teens navigate teen dating. Build a relationship with your teen, keep open communication, and check out these tips!

About The 10 Myths of Teen Dating:

There’s no greater moment of panic in a parent’s life than when their daughter begins to date.

Due to their lack of knowledge about the world their teens face coupled with the scant dating information they received as teens, many parents feel ill-equipped to guide their daughters through the minefield that is teen dating.

And by the same token, teenage girls crave information about dating and relationships. And left to their own devices, many will develop their own assumptions about dating by talking to their friends or watching the latest TV shows and movies. But that will only lead them down a path toward heartbreak.

So how do you engage your daughter in discussions about dating, relationships, and her future happiness?

Expert educator Daniel Anderson and his twenty something daughter, Jacquelyn, help you navigate the biggest dating myths, including: the myth that a boyfriend will make your daughter happy, that she should trust her feelings, or that sex will enhance her relationship. Combining the latest scientific research with poignant personal stories, as well as proven truths and practical application, The 10 Myths of Teen Dating will equip you to teach your daughter how to date smart for today . . . and tomorrow.

The 10 Myths of Teen Dating from Starts At Eight is a practical parenting book to help parents of teens navigate teen dating. Build a relationship with your teen, keep open communication, and check out these tips!

Purchase a copy of  The 10 Myths of Teen Dating

Disclaimer: I want to thank Daniel and Jacquelyn Anderson and Litfuse Publicity for supplying me with a copy of this book for me to review. While I received this free of charge in exchange for my review, my opinions are my own, and have not been influenced in any way.

About Daniel and Jacquelyn:

Daniel Anderson is a former college All-American basketball player, an expert educator, and a father of two grown daughters and a son. As a veteran high school teacher in the public school system, Daniel was troubled by how his students approached dating and relationships. He and his daughter, Jacquelyn Anderson—a twenty something and also a high school teacher—decided to address this need by equipping parents with “The 10 Myths of Teen Dating,” their first book together. Daniel and Jacquelyn both make their home in Portland, Oregon.

Website | Facebook

What I Thought:

My first thought was, YES, a book that sticks to solid moral values but doesn’t bog it down with the mention of God in every sentence! Instead they take moral values, put them into real life words and practice so that even those who are not religiously based can use and find great value in the advice and action points in this book. Kids need real life, practical advice for facing the world around them, and this book has it! Not only does it give good advice for teens, but it does it by helping you to be the messenger of that good advice. The 10 Myths of Teen Dating is based in research, experience, and insight from Daniel, and brought together with perspectives and insight from his daughter, Jacquelyn.

One more thing of note is that this book is geared toward helping girls through teen dating.

Just a few examples of the common sense position Daniel speaks from:

  • “I was trying to cultivate compliance, when I should have been sowing understanding.”
  • “Many parents believe they are providing the rich life for their children with hyperfocus on a single activity. But what they are really providing is the busy life.”
  • Avoid talking at or to, instead talk with your children. Ask questions, listen to answers, work to support them.
  • “In the absence of goals and aspirations, our daughters may find meaning from whatever is in front of them.”
  • “In many ways a rich, goal-centered life is a buffer against your daughter trying to find happiness in a boyfriend.”
  • Create a climate of rational thinking in your home. Help your daughter understand she has value. Girls who don’t understand they are valuable experience a variety of feelings they should not trust, as well as engage in risky behaviors. We should help our daughters balance emotions with rational thinking.
  • From this solid base, Daniel and Jacquelyn give parents the tools to help their daughters navigate their dating world. Each chapter ends with Questions for Reflection as well as Questions For You And Your Daughter To Discuss. These are real, practical words to use with your girls.

Related Articles:

A Teen's Guide to the 5 Love Languages - A Review from Starts At EightAre You An Easy-to-Listen-to Parent (And other parenting tools) from Starts At EightUnconditional Love & Parenting from Starts At EightJust 18 Summers ~ Time With Your Children is Fleeting from Starts At EightBook Review: The Secrets of Happy Families from Starts At Eight

Online Safety for Teens Using a Parental Control App

Online Safety for Teens Using a Parental Control App

While I say teens, the conversation and act of using a parental control app for online safety seems to need to start earlier and earlier. Most children are exposed to the Internet at the age of 6! So while online safety for teens is important, you most likely should be starting earlier than the teen years!

Online Safety for Teens - 10 Things to Consider from Starts At Eight. Practical advice for talking to your teens about Internet Safety as well as a Parental Control App to help you monitor their use.

Online Safety for Teens – 10 Things to Consider

When placing a device in front of your children that is Internet capable there are many things to consider. Here is a brief list of things to keep in mind and discuss with your children when using Internet connected devices.

  1. Personal Information – Your kids should not give out personal information without your permission. This means you no sharing their last name, home address, school name, or telephone number.
  2. Screen Name – When creating their screen name, do not include personal information like last name or date of birth.
  3. Passwords –  Remember to tell them not to share their password with anyone but you. (We insist on having all of our children’s passwords so we can access their accounts at any time.) Also, when using a public computer be sure to tell them to logout of their accounts before leaving that computer.
  4. Photos – Do not allow them to post photos or videos online without getting your permission first. When our kids are younger than 13 we don’t let them have any personal profile pictures for gamin sites, etc. After the age of 13 we discuss the use of their personal photos and talk about what our family guidelines are for that, as well as the nature of any photos they are allowed to take, send, and post.
  5. Online Friends – Warn them to NOT arrange to meet an online friend in real life! Unfortunately, people sometimes pretend to be someone they are not. Just because they say they are a 14 year old, does not mean that they are.
  6. Social Networking – Many social network sites (i.e., Facebook, Twitter) have minimum age requirements to signup. These requirements are there to help protect our children. Use caution when deciding to allow a child to fake their age to be on a social network, or better yet, don’t do it!
  7. Online Purchasing – Tell your children NOT to buy anything online without talking to you first. Some ads are set up solely to try and trick people by offering free things or saying you have won something as a way of collecting personal information. We have our children ask us about any purchases and do not give them any means to purchase things without us doing it.
  8. Downloading – I can’t tell you how many times my son has downloaded something without asking and hit our computers with a virus! Teach your children to recognize suspicious e-mails and links, encouraging them to ask you first if they are unsure.
  9. Bullying -Talk to them about bullying, because yes, this happens online too. Encourage them not to send or respond to mean or insulting messages and have them tell you if they receive one. If something happens online that makes them feel uncomfortable, encourage them to talk to you about it. Keeping an open, ongoing conversation going with your children about both the benefits and drawbacks of using the Internet is important.
  10. Parental Control Resources – Above and beyond the above rules/guidelines. Consider using some type of filtering and or parental control app where you can set up the parameters and monitor what your children are doing online.

Online Safety for Teens – Using a Parental Control App

The digital age brings a wealth of information and conveniences, but we cannot ignore the risks it poses for our families. 70% of children see inappropriate content by accident. These facts alone should be enough to spur us as parents to not only create open conversations with our children about Internet safety, but to also put Internet safeguards in place on all devices our children have access to.

Online Safety for Teens - 10 Things to Consider from Starts At Eight. Practical advice for talking to your teens about Internet Safety as well as a Parental Control App from Gryphon to help you monitor their use.

The average family has 10 Internet-connected devices and counting, creating new security threats and vulnerabilities. However, the existing parental control tools are too complicated to use and expensive with annual subscriptions.

Gryphon is a powerful yet convenient approach to online safety. Gryphon combines a high-performance WiFi router and a simple-to-use smartphone app, making it easy for parents to manage the connected home from anywhere. All security features are built directly within the router itself, eliminating the need to install additional apps on your connected devices.

{Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Gryphon. I was compensated for my time in sharing this information.  Please see my full Disclosure Policy for more details.}

  • Setting up the Gryphon router takes just three steps and a simple tap with the Gryphon app.
  • Grant access to specific websites
  • Restrict internet access during various times of the day (such as during sleep and homework)
  • Monitor your connected home devices like thermostats or cameras to prevent hacking.
  • All of this can be done on your smartphone from anywhere.
  • The app even features a social collaboration tool, so you can work together with fellow homeschooling parents to create a safer Internet for everyone, by recommending and rating specific websites.

The people behind Gryphon have worked hard over the last year on the design and the software platform and they have launched a Kickstarter campaign today for the final production of Gryphon.

Go to to find out more about the product and the consider supporting the campaign!

And connect via Twitter & Facebook

Related Articles

Help Limiting Kids Screen Time with FREE Printable List from Starts At EightGrowing Up Social - Kids & Screen Time from Starts At Eight5 Internet Safety Tips for Teens from Starts At EightCreating a Cell Phone Contract for Teens...or better yet, start a conversation! from Starts At Eight Using a cell phone contact to help guide teens is a good way to start, but you need to build a relationship with your teens through conversations that include their thoughts and ideas into the process.5 Things Your Teen Should Know About Social Media from Starts At Eight5 Ways To Limit Your Teens Texting Time from Starts At Eight

Creating a Cell Phone Contract for Teens or better yet start a conversation!

Creating a Cell Phone Contract for Teens or better yet start a conversation!

Do your teens have cell phones? Have you talked about the expectations that come along with that privilege? Beyond just creating a cell phone contract for teens, it is important to have conversations about your expectations and theirs.

Creating a Cell Phone Contract for Teens...or better yet, start a conversation! from Starts At Eight Using a cell phone contact to help guide teens is a good way to start, but you need to build a relationship with your teens through conversations that include their thoughts and ideas into the process.

This letter, and ones like it, have been circulating around the Internet. You can also find tons of printable cell phone contracts for teens. My question is, “Is this really the best way to go about our relationship with our teens?” Have we considered that having an open conversation with our children, along with what our expectations are, may go farther than an arbitrary set of rules? Giving teens the chance to express their feelings, and talk about what they feel is important gives them a voice, and includes them in the process.

Example of a cell phone contract for teens

Here is a letter from a mom to her 13 year old son. These are the terms he must agree to in order to get his own iPhone…

Dear Gregory,

Merry Christmas! You are now the proud owner of an iPhone. Hot Damn! You are a good and responsible 13-year-old boy and you deserve this gift. But with the acceptance of this present comes rules and regulations. Please read through the following contract. I hope that you understand it is my job to raise you into a well rounded, healthy young man that can function in the world and coexist with technology, not be ruled by it. Failure to comply with the following list will result in termination of your iPhone ownership.

I love you madly and look forward to sharing several million text messages with you in the days to come.

1. It is my phone. I bought it. I pay for it. I am loaning it to you. Aren’t I the greatest?

2. I will always know the password.

3. If it rings, answer it. It is a phone. Say hello, use your manners. Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads “Mom” or “Dad.” Not ever.

4. Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at 7:30 p.m. every school night and every weekend night at 9:00 p.m. It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 7:30 a.m. If you would not make a call to someone’s land line, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text. Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.

5. It does not go to school with you. Have a conversation with the people you text in person. It’s a life skill. *Half days, field trips and after school activities will require special consideration.

6. If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs. Mow a lawn, babysit, stash some birthday money. It will happen, you should be prepared.

7. Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being. Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others. Be a good friend first or stay the hell out of the crossfire.

8. Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.

9. Do not text, email, or say anything to someone that you would not say out loud with their parents in the room. Censor yourself.

10. No porn. Search the web for information you would openly share with me. If you have a question about anything, ask a person — preferably me or your father.

11. Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public. Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being. You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.

12. Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else’s private parts. Don’t laugh. Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence. It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life. It is always a bad idea. Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you. And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear — including a bad reputation.

13. Don’t take a zillion pictures and videos. There is no need to document everything. Live your experiences. They will be stored in your memory for eternity.

14. Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision. It is not alive or an extension of you. Learn to live without it. Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO (fear of missing out).

15. Download music that is new or classic or different than the millions of your peers that listen to the same exact stuff. Your generation has access to music like never before in history. Take advantage of that gift. Expand your horizons.

16. Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.

17. Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you. Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Take a walk. Talk to a stranger. Wonder without googling.

18. You will mess up. I will take away your phone. We will sit down and talk about it. We will start over again. You and I, we are always learning. I am on your team. We are in this together.

It is my hope that you can agree to these terms. Most of the lessons listed here do not just apply to the iPhone, but to life. You are growing up in a fast and ever changing world. It is exciting and enticing. Keep it simple every chance you get. Trust your powerful mind and giant heart above any machine. I love you. I hope you enjoy your awesome new iPhone.


NOTE: You can also watch an interview with this mom (Janell) and Gregory from being on Good Morning America

Starting The Conversation

This letter provides a useful list of concerns the parent of a teen with a device might have and while I believe it is a valuable resource as families move into this stage, it shouldn’t be the only resource. Instead, this would make a great stemming point for conversations you might want to have with your teen about cell phone use, bullying, etiquette, Internet safety, screen use, etc. Add and/or subtract from the ideas listed in the above contract as you see fit for your family.

Have the hard conversations with your teens. Talk about your values and expectations. Share with them the knowledge you have gained through years of experience. Allow them to express their thoughts, needs and concerns. In building a working relationship with your teen you will create a lasting conversation and environment where they feel free to come to you to talk things out.

More on Parenting Teens

moms-of-teensA Teen's Guide to the 5 Love Languages - A Review from Starts At EightHelp for Holding Teens Accountable from Starts At Eight5 Internet Safety Tips for Teens from Starts At Eight5 Ways To Limit Your Teens Texting Time from Starts At EightIs Your Child Ready for a Smartphone? from Starts At EightAre You An Easy-to-Listen-to Parent (And other parenting tools) from Starts At EightHelp Limiting Kids Screen Time with FREE Printable List from Starts At Eight

A Teens Guide to the 5 Love Languages – Review

A Teens Guide to the 5 Love Languages – Review

Have you heard of the 5 Love Languages? I have found that learning and applying the 5 Love Languages to all my significant relationships has greatly improved each one. It has also helped me to better understand myself.

A Teen's Guide to the 5 Love Languages - A Review from Starts At Eight

Using the principles behind the 5 Love Languages enriches relationships. Do you know how it would be even more effective? It would be even more effective if both parties involved were versed in it! For this very reason I love that there are a variety of 5 Love Language books.

Here are just a few of them:

If you are not familiar with the 5 Love Languages let me give you a quick overview. Here is what the author, Gary Chapman, says about The 5 Love Languages:

My conclusion after thirty years of marriage counseling is that there are basically five emotional love languages—five ways that people speak and understand emotional love. In the field of linguistics a language may have numerous dialects or variations. Similarly, within the five basic emotional love languages, there are many dialects….The important thing is to speak the love language of your spouse.

Here’s a brief description of what each of them mean:

  1. Words of Affirmation: Expressing affection through spoken affection, praise, or appreciation.
  2. Acts of Service: Actions, rather than words, are used to show and receive love.
  3. Receiving Gifts: Gifting is symbolic of love and affection.
  4. Quality Time: Expressing affection with undivided, undistracted attention.
  5. Physical Touch: It can be sex or holding hands. With this love language, the speaker feels affection through physical touch.

A Teen’s Guide to the 5 Love Languages

A Teen’s Guide to the 5 Love Languages is geared towards helping our teens understand themselves as well as their relationships with others. {I recently received this book for review. Please see my full Disclosure Policy for more details.}

How is this different than other 5 Love Languages books?

  1. Speaks to teens on their level.
  2. Uses examples they can relate to.
  3. Includes graphics that are fun and relevant for teens.
  4. Gives solid, concrete examples of what each language looks like, from both sides!


Other Articles of Interest:

Curriculum Review: Discovering the 5 Love Languages At School from Starts At EightGrowing Up Social - Kids & Screen Time from Starts At Eight

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